Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
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carrot cake
Our carrot cake with fluffy cream cheese frosting!

Two weeks ago, we made carrot cake based on a recipe from The New Best Recipe, by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated. The cake itself was nearly perfect, with just the right amount of spices and carrots. Just what we were looking for in a carrot cake. The frosting, however, left a little something to be desired. It was too sweet, and too heavy. Sure, a heavy and sweet might be exactly what some people look for in a frosting, but not us. Hence, the Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting.

As we remarked at the end of that post, we thought that the best way to improve the frosting recipe would be to fold whipped cream right into the cream cheese frosting. While that might be a bit troublesome, it would be worth it. Let’s get scratchin’ and put it to the test.

Makes enough frosting for a two layer 8-inch cake.

Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 5 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 Tbs sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Abbreviated Instructions

Using whisk attachment on a stand mixer, whip heavy cream and 1/4 cup powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Transfer to bowl and refrigerate.

Place remaining ingredients in same bowl (no need to clean) and beat on high with paddle attachment until well-mixed and light, about 4 minutes.

Fold whipped cream into cream cheese frosting in three additions.


Ingredient discussion:

Real vanilla is the way to go, and, if you plan just a bit ahead, you can make your own sour cream. If you have a scale, you might want to make it easy to measure the confectioners’ sugar by weighing. The 1/4 cup that goes with the heavy cream will weigh 1 ounce (30 grams), and the full cup for the cream cheese is 4 ounces (120 grams).

Procedure in detail:

Chill bowl and whisk. When you’re whipping cream, it really helps to chill the bowl and the whisk attachment. We just place them both in the freezer for about a half an hour. For this recipe, that’s about when we took the cream cheese and butter out of the refrigerator to soften. You might not think it’s necessary to chill the bowl and whisk, but it really does help in keeping the cream from forming butter. It only takes one instance of making really sweet butter to convince you to go the cold route.

whipped cream
Once you whip the cream, transfer to a bowl and set in the refrigerator so it doesn’t melt.

Whip cream. Place the cream in the frozen bowl, sprinkle the 1/4 cup of powdered sugar over the top, and start that mixer to twirlin’. After a minute or so, scrape down the sides, then turn the mixer to high until the cream is whipped and holds stiff peaks. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate. Yeah, taste some, you know, just to check that it’s good.


cream cheese frosting
Using the paddle attachment, thoroughly beat together the remaining ingredients until light. This would be ordinary cream cheese frosting.

Make frosting. Place the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, vanilla, and cup of confectioners’ sugar in the mixing bowl. No need to clean in between, since you’ll be folding everything together in a minute. Mash together just a bit to keep the confectioners’ sugar from spewing out of the mixer, then, using the paddle attachment, blend frosting together. Once the sugar is incorporated, mix on high to make the frosting as light as possible. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically.

folding in whipped cream
The first addition of the whipped cream is the most difficult. The next two are easier.

Fold in whipped cream. Even with all that blending, the cream cheese mixture is still pretty heavy, so we want to fold in the whipped cream. To keep the whipped cream from collapsing, fold it in three additions. With each addition, you’ll notice the texture getting lighter and lighter.


folding in whipped cream
See, it’s getting nice and fluffy. Fluffy frosting is the best.


carrot cake
We’re slowly getting better at frosting a cake well.

Frost. Now for the hard part (at least for us), frost your cake. We’re still practicing our frosting technique, but we can suggest that you place strips of wax paper under the edges of the cake to keep the plate clean while you’re frosting. Remove them before serving.

This is it! The best cream cheese frosting! It still tastes like cream cheese frosting, only it’s not as sweet and it’s much lighter in texture. It’s easier to use as frosting, too. It mixes well with food coloring, so you can add decorations. All in all, it is the perfect frosting for carrot cake. It probably would work with other cakes, too. Fives!

Worth the trouble?

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